Breen: A brief check in the rear-view mirror, then on to 2012

Looking back on 2011, as I have done this week compiling a year-in-review story for this newspaper, reminded me how much happens in a town where nothing happens.

The economy, crime, sports, gossip, controversy, unemployment; there was plenty to report on in the year that was. News is about more than city council ordinances and sewer connection fee charges – it’s ultimately about how the world affects people’s day-to-day lives.

Perhaps we are entering the last year of human existence on this world, if the 2012 end-of-the-world prognosticators are to be believed. If that’s the case, I hope the Warriors make the playoffs, the Niners win the Superbowl and the Giants play into October.

If all those things happen, the world can – and probably will – end. Now that would be a front-page story.

I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, so my bet is that the world will not end quite yet. I’ve still got a lot to do before the world stops turning, and I need more than a year to do them.

I want to see my sons graduate high school and go on to college over the next couple of years. I don’t want to see the tuition bill related to that goal.

I want to finish watching all of the shows saved on my TiVo, though I don’t want to spend all of the required hours in front of my television.

I received my annual gym membership renewal from my employer and I want to use it a time or two, unlike what I did this year. I don’t want to procrastinate, but I’ve procrastinated on the goal of not procrastinating every year.

The onset of January means that February is right around the corner, which means I will turn a year older. I’m beyond the age that I look forward to birthdays and not quite to the age where I won’t admit how old I am. I’ll turn 43 in 2012, which means it has been 16 years since I wrote a column for the Free Lance complaining about how old I felt to be turning 27.

That 27-year-old kid, with his healthy knees and lack of gray beard hair, had no idea what he was talking about. The older version of that kid knows now not to complain about age because even though this is the oldest he’s ever been, there’s always someone older who wishes he was my age.

In 2012, it will be the year of another presidential election, when our country will exercise its freedom to select a leader that has the unenviable task of trying to please a country divided along party lines. It makes for plenty to talk about in the news and plenty to complain about around the kitchen table.

In San Benito County, the new year will bring a cold January followed by the start of baseball and softball practice in February.

If it ever rains again, the hills surrounding our valley will turn green and we’ll marvel at the beauty that frames our existence.

There will, no doubt, be stories of sadness and challenge in our community over the next 12 months, but there will be plenty of tales of good deeds and successes and reasons for being thankful for calling this place home.

We should all reflect on the year that was and then let it go. A new year brings new hope for improved lives, a stronger economy and better times for everyone. The year ahead holds the promise of better days ahead, and for that we are fortunate.

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